As entrepreneurs, we are often asked if we have a “business strategy” for just about everything. Social media, marketing, growth, operations, and on and on. But what does it mean to have one? The word strategy, as defined by dictionary.com means, “a plan of action or policy designed to achieve a major or overall aim.”
In all honesty, it can feel a little overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be planned in your business. On the other hand, operating without any plan, that is, just winging it in your biz, will cost you time, energy, and money because you will be trying to hit your targets in the dark. The truth is that you need an overarching plan for your vision, then mini-plans in each of the action areas.
Must Fit Into Your Bigger Vision and Goal
You want to go from New York to Los Angeles in the car. That’s the goal, get to LA. There are so many different routes to get there, but we can probably agree that you need to have a starting road and you need to be going west. Without looking at a map or GPS or having a strategy to get to your destination you could end up anywhere else costing time and money. It is true that your starting route may change, and you may end up on a different interstate- but as long as you hold the vision of getting to LA, you will be ultimately moving west. Make sense?
My question to you. Where are you going? What does this look like in the future? What is your vision? This is your very first strategy assignment, create a picture of where you are going. This is where people look out 3 months, 6 months, a year, five years. But for now, just pick a timeframe within 2 years and grab the picture in your mind. Now we need to hold that vision to create a plan to get there. Write down this vision and your goals.
Must Lead Into Action Plan
Some of us love to plan. I do. Unfortunately, sometimes we replace action with planning. Planning is preparation, and I am so guilty of this when I have any fear or resistance around taking the next step. The best use of strategy is to translate your plan into actions that you take every day, week, month, towards your vision.
This is where multiple strategies are developed. For example, the social media strategy, marketing strategy, and webinar strategy must nest within the bigger vision. To do this, look at your written vision and goals and describe what each plan needs to do to support your journey. If your business is product-based you may have a strategy that includes sales to both wholesale and retail audiences, so your sales strategy needs to address how to support both.
The actual number of plans will vary by business. If you are in manufacturing, you will have strategic needs that aren’t necessary in the coaching world. At a minimum, however, I think just about every business needs:
- A marketing strategy (with a social media plan)
- A sales strategy
- A customer acquisition, service, support, and retention strategy
- A clear strategy for delivering the products and services to market
With these four strategies defined for your business, you can make decisions and take action every day aligned with your bigger vision.
Must Be Reviewed At Least Twice A Year
It is so true that businesses start with one thing and ultimately evolves. You may start with a single idea and grow it into several lines of revenue. You may need to meet your customer a different way as the industry changes. The strategy will also evolve and grow with your business. So, creating your strategy isn’t a “one and done” event. Reviewing it twice a year is a great way to see if your goals and vision are still aligned based on the daily real-world business things.
If you aren’t a natural planner, I get it. I hope you see how important it is to have an overarching map and strategy to get to your vision. You’ve been given a vision, and your entrepreneurial purpose is to reach it. If you need some help with planning your next moves, grab a spot on my calendar for a chat, I have an intensive 3-hour session available that is intended to get your plan reviewed and if needed, back on track to support your goals.